Two friends, Jennifer Husband-Elsier and Melissa Akacha, came across a woman that was living in her car at a Target parking lot in Philadelphia. She had two dogs with her, and she looked like she was having a hard time. Right away, the two women asked her if she was okay and if she needed anything. The woman in the car’s name is Lynn Schutzman. At the time, she told them that she was fine, but it was apparent that this was not true.
Husband-Elsier and Akacha wanted to help in any way possible. So, they decided to use Nextdoor, which is a social media site for neighbors. They made a post asking if anyone knew anything about the “elderly woman with her two dogs.” Luckily, they were able to learn enough about Schutzman to help her get back on her feet.
The two women quickly learned that Schutzman was a 70-year-old pharmacist who had a great life up until recently. She suffered from multiple illnesses after her husband passed away. The cost of medical bills soon became so great that she could no longer afford to pay her rent.
Schutzman had no children, and no other family to turn to. So, despite having a happy life and a good income up until that point, Schutzman still found herself homeless.
“I just want people to realize that this can happen to anybody,” said Schutzman. “I had a good retirement, but I got sick and health insurance only covers so much.”
With no place to live, Schutzman was forced to move her belongings and her two dogs into her SUV. She had been living in her car for about two years now. Unfortunately, she didn’t qualify for affordable housing, and none of the homeless shelters would allow dogs. Of course, she knew her life would be even worse without her furry friends by her side, so her SUV was her best option at the time.
The Kind Community Came to the Rescue!
Akacha is also a pharmacist, so she asked around and soon learned that Schutzman was a respected mentor in the pharmacy field. Schutzman had been putting on a brave face for the past two years, but she really needed someone to help her. So, Akacha and Husband-Eisler decided to pay for a hotel room for Schutzman and her dogs until they could figure out how to help her.
Once word spread about Schutzman’s story, the community began bringing her meals, blankets, and dog food to help her out. Many kind neighbors would even walk her dogs for her occasionally. Akacha and Husband-Eisler knew this was a great start, but they felt like they could do even more to help.
So, the two women started a GoFundMe page for Schutzman. They ended up raising over $30,000! They used that money to purchase a nice studio apartment for Schutzman and her dogs to stay at. The first two years at the apartment are already paid for. Schutzman is extremely grateful, and she is amazed by all the beautiful personal touches the community was able to add to her new living space.
Schutzman is happy once again, and she even has thanksgiving plans with Husband-Eisler’s family. All she really needed was some love and support to help get her back on her feet. It’s amazing how a person’s life can turn around simply based on the kindness of the community.
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